I would always struggle to find my smile. There are days when I can’t stand the fact that I need to get out of bed. Sometimes, I just want to give up. Some days, I manifest stress onto my shoulders by thinking about the struggles I face. It’s hard to always smile and be the face of an organization, a leader to many, and at the same time, a father and husband. There are times when I ask myself if I can handle it. Like I wasn’t designed to do this.
The winter was brutal. The long dark nights and dull days block the sunshine and the coldness that sinks into the bones pushes you further into the darkness. That’s behind us now. Today is the opening day for Major League Baseball and it’s gorgeous outside. The sun shines brightly, hardly a cloud in the sky, the geese have landed and will soon have goslings with them, protecting each movement, the male goose laying close eye on his partner. Everywhere she steps, he steps and always has his head up, alert of the danger around. Each year they land at the pond down the road. Each year I wonder how they survive. In the distance on clear nights you can the fox and coyote cries. Some nights it sounds like they’re right outside the bedroom window. Where do the geese hide at night, or do they? Each year their young survive. One year there were five. Last year, only one. It’s a great day when you see the newly born gosling. You know the warmth is around the corner.
I look forward to seeing them arrive and I’m confident that the young will survive. I have a positive attitude and confidence on their survival. It’s that attitude and confidence that we need to take forward from this story to improve our life. Many of us get knocked down in the winter. Throughout history it’s been brutal living in frigid climates during winter and seasonal depression is very real. But we can stand tall and live our best life year round. It just takes a few tools that we should have in stock. Like the snow needing a shovel or oil needed to heat our homes, we need some mindset tools to maintain focus. Below are four mindset tools that can improve your life:
If you were to search the sites of many top motivational speakers, bloggers, and authors you’d surely see something about gratitude. This is because gratitude is certainly one of the most powerful mindset tools we have. When I lost everything nine years ago, I had no gratitude for any part of my life. I was angry at circumstance, I was angry with my actions, and I was angry at what life dealt me. I failed to see the things in life I should have been grateful for. While I had no home and no change of clothes, I still had friends that gave me food. I still had a place to hang out and a glass of water to drink when thirsty. They may have been few and far between, but it was still there. I didn’t have to walk many miles to find water from a well or go more than a day without eating something. That is enough to be grateful for. When you don’t know what it’s like to go without food, water, or a comfortable bed, you can see the true awesomeness of our simple pleasures. Waking up in a home, that’s your own, is enough to be grateful for and enough to set yourself up for a great day. Practice writing down things you are grateful for. Three things every morning or each night.
2. The Power of Thought
Each night when I would walk back to the bridge where I’d stay for the night, I thought about how bad my life was. I thought about what troubles I’ve been dealt and why I would ever put myself in this situation. I thought about the rich people with big homes and nice cars and how horrible it was that people like me had nothing, when they seemed to have everything. What I didn’t think about was what to do to get myself out of that hell hole and how to find a way to improve of my life. My energy was focused on my hardships and not my talents or skills and ability to do something with my life. Thought is everything around us. Our life is the result of our thinking. Spend it dwelling on poor circumstances and those circumstances get worse or drag along. Focus on improving and think about developing better skills and talents and your actions follow your thinking. The power of thought is a great mindset tool we all need to take very seriously. Many of the world’s greatest men and women contribute their success to positive and constructive thinking. Use the power of your thought to improve your life. Start right now. Write down 10 things you can do to make life better, or spend some quiet time alone thinking about those 10 things.
3. The Power of Attitude
Authors and Speakers like Zig Ziglar and John Maxwell write and speak about a positive attitude being a foundation for a great life. With a great gratitude for life and the power of thought, attitude is essential to make them work. Whether we have a negative attitude or a positive attitude, our results follow that which our attitude creates. While spending my nights under a bridge I would dwell on life and proceeded for several days sulking with a negative attitude towards everything. After I got a second chance and my attitude brighten a little, I began to see many things in life with a positive attitude. I became happier, I started exercising again, and my outlook on life began to change. No longer did I wish to die. Instead, I was positive that good things were coming my way, and sure enough, after a year or two, the best things in my life yet began to arrive in front of me. Attitude takes you places. Have a good attitude toward life and you will be pleasantly surprised at how things change. Start now by writing down a few things you’d like to achieve or acquire. Once you write those down, firmly believe in your heart that you can achieve them or get those things and maintain that attitude that which you seek is coming to you.
4. Being Present
Lately I’ve been putting a lot of stress on my shoulders. For awhile my gym wasn’t growing and there were many ups and downs. I constantly worried about this. Will I make a living being a strength coach or am I wasting my time? What needs to happen in order for me to make this work? And many other negative thoughts about the growth and sustainability of the gym consumed my thoughts. I was focused on the future and did nothing in the present to contribute to the growth. My mindset was on the worst that could happen and not on what I could do in the moment or what we had in moment that make it great. I tried to force the future results to come in when I should have been just allowing them to naturally come. My actions worked against my goals and ideas. I kept pushing back everything I was working for, making it harder to come by. My vision of the future and the negative thinking about it took about half of the power of the present moment. Instead of stressing over what is to come eventually and forcing through the unknown, allow what is now to be what is now. There is power and truth in the statement “it is what it is”.
When you’re stuck in a rut, thinking the world sucks and everything is working against you, try to switch the way you’re looking at life. Some days the sky is black but life is still good. See the positive things you are experiencing in the moment and use that to build yourself up and improve your life. One moment at a time.